Supporting and loving each other, that is what AEGEE-Skopje is all about. President of AEGEE-Skopje Stefani Stevanovska tells us how being a member of AEGEE-Skopje changes the view towards Europe, how they keep new members active and about their plans for the future.
The AEGEEan: Could you tell us a bit about the establishment of AEGEE-Skopje?
Stefani : AEGEE–Skopje officially became an antenna in 1993, and during the years, it became one of the most active antenna in the network. This year we had a 25th anniversary, which we celebrated with the participants from the SUPS – Secret recipe for an epic Summer, as well as many active members and alumni. Currently, we have around sixty members. We focus on organising as many events we can, both locally as European ones. We believe that this is the best way to keep members motivated and to spread the AEGEE Spirit. This year, one of the best events we organised was the NYE event, in which we had around forty participants, who all left amazingly positive beginning. Also, SUPS was great, since the trainers gave interesting workshops and the participants left feeling accomplished and ready to organise a great Summer University.
Which typical, local traditions do you have?
We love to organise a motivational weekend yearly, to train and activate the newbies, as well as to get together with the active and older members. We have many teambuilding activities, games and workshops specially designed for the needs of the antenna, but we also have barbecue, drinking games and much more. We strongly recommend this motivational weekend event to many other locals since the overall impact is very positive. On a local level, we try to co-operate with other organisations such as the Red Cross, because we love to help the community in Skopje. In the past months, we helped to organise a humanitarian folk dance concert and a blood donation action. Also, we co-operated with a NGO that works with autistic children to celebrate the World’s Autism day. Moreover, we promoted the Summer Universities in a very creative way, and a lot of people applied.
Which skills do you think that members of AEGEE-Skopje develop and how?
The best skills that AEGEE Skopje members have developed are organisational skills. Since we train new members from the beginning and we help them with organising some activities on both a European and local level. This really motivates them to keep on moving forward in our antenna and in their personal lives. Unfortunately, our educational system does not really offer many opportunities to do practical work, so this is a great opportunity for everyone. One example is the year when we organised two traveling SU’s: one with AEGEE-Istanbul and one with AEGEE-Beograd.
How do you think that the view towards Europe changes by participating in AEGEE-Skopje?
At first, most of the people that join AEGEE-Skopje do not feel that connected to Europe, because we identify Europe with the European Union, which Macedonia is not a part of. However, their opinion quickly changes when they participate in an event outside of our borders and feel how welcoming and open-minded everyone in AEGEE is. Also, they see that our opportunities are almost equal to the opportunities that other young people in countries from the European Union have.
AEGEE-Skopje has a long history of organising exchanges with other locals. What are your tips for other locals who also want to organise an exchange?
The most important thing is good communication and teambuilding. For example, regarding a SU we organised in collaboration with AEGEE-Istanbul, we first had an exchange with them, where we met the whole team. We all had great time together and then decided to organse a Summer University together. Also, it really helps if you have a motivated team that will work enthusiastically organising the exchanges and events. All in all, it is important to keep an open mind, help each other, know the weakness and strangest of oneself as well as of the entire team, try to work out the differences and find a middle ground for everyone.
The magazine produced by AEGEE-Skopje, ‘’Europe – No borders no limits’’ has been well received. However, currently it is no longer published, could you tell us the reason for this?
AEGEE-Skopje has been publishing every second month the magazine ‘’Europe – No borders no limits ‘’, but unfortunately, we no longer publish it. The magazine was awarded for “the best European student publication in the AEGEE Network” in 1994 and 2000/2001. However, in the past we had more members that studied Journalism and creative writing than currently, so there are not that many students that could help publishing this magazine.
What are your plans for AEGEE-Skopje?
Our short term plan is to organise an epic Summer University – “Yes, I do!”. In a way, it is our baby because, since a couple of years, we decided to organise a SU alone, instead of in collaboration with another AEGEE local. We added new amazing things to the programme such as a Galichka wedding [An annual festival held in Galičnik in which selected couple get married in the traditional Galichka style, ed].This SU is entirely designed to show the culture, history and beauty that our country has to offer and to teach the participants our amazing traditions. Macedonia has been going through a difficult time and we think that this SU will also help the organsers to go back to our roots and focus on the positive things. On a long term, we plan to organise a NWM, another winter or NYE event, motivational weekend and other surprises, just follow us on Facebook to see…!
AEGEE-Skopje is awesome because…
We love and support each other in every possible way, so that in the end we become like a family.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Come and visit us anytime, during an event or any other occasion. We love to host members and to show them our city, it truly brings us great joy!
Written by Susan Nijsten, AEGEE-Groningen